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How N18.7 billion meant for primary school teachers’ salaries disappeared in Benue

Written By Idoma Television on Friday, November 13, 2015 | 7:07:00 AM

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The Justice Elizabeth Kpojime Commission of Inquiry which resumed sitting at the Makurdi High Court Four yesterday heard that the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs paid N18.7 billion meant for primary school teachers’ salaries into an unknown account with First Bank in Makurdi.
Testifying before the Commission, Permanent Secretary of the Bureau, Mr. Emmanuel Ikpe who could not give satisfactory explanation as to the owner of the bank
 account, appealed to the Commission to invite the former Special Adviser of the Bureau during the period under investigation, Mr. Solomon Wombo and the then Permanent Secretary, Mr. Asen Sambe, to give the required clarifications.

He said N1.8 billion monthly salaries of primary school teachers owed between October 2013, and June 2014, was lodged in the fixed deposit account number 1017993231 with First Bank.
Mr. Ikpe admitted that the Bureau made payments between January and May, 2015 to the tune of N18.7 into the unknown account at First Bank, Makurdi adding that officials of the bank refused to give the Bureau details of the account when the Director of Finance and Administration approached them.

When the Commission demanded to know who from the Bureau made the payment of N4.6 billion in May and N5 billion in June last year among others, Mr. Ikpe said the then Accountant, Mr. Isaiah Ipevnor, and the then Permanent Secretary, Mr. Sambe who was the accounting officer, were in the best position to explain.

On why the sum of N3.4 million was being paid monthly by the Bureau to a contractor, Ameh Technology, Mr. Ikpe explained that the Bureau had entered a contractual agreement with the company for the supply and maintenance of generating plants in the 23 local government areas of the state.

He however stated that since he became the Permanent Secretary, the money has not been paid to the Contractor and the Bureau was thinking of terminating the contract so that if any Local Government needed such service, it should request for it.

When the Commission Chairman also demanded to know why Ashitech, Ashifood and Akpo Integrated Limited were being paid between 40 and N45 million monthly, the Permanent Secretary requested for time to enable him search the records and furnish the Commission with details.
Chairman of the Commission, Justice Kpojime adjourned the sitting to enable Mr. Ikpe to continue with his testimony today and Thursday next week and to enable him tender some documents requested.

A Makurdi High Judge, Justice Ada Onum had vacated the order obtained by former Governor, Dr Gabriel Suswam through exparte motion restraining the Government from probing his administration paving way for the commission to resume sitting.
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone provided by Airtel Nigeria.
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